It's easy—and inevitable—to compare Shanik to the wildly popular Vij's in Vancouver. This is the risk that chef-owner Meeru Dhalwala has taken with her new restaurant, perhaps Seattle's most highly anticipated opening of 2012. But Vij's is 18 years old, she says, and Shanik (named after one of her daughters) is a "new generation" restaurant with a completely different menu.
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When we visited Vancouver a couple of years ago we had a series of good not great meals in what is supposed to be a great food city. The best meal we had there was at Vij's 1480 W. 11th Avenue (604-736-6664), which melds Indian flavors, herbs and spices into an original contemporary cooking style. I hadn't thought about Vij's in awhile, but Sara Dickerman's piece about Vancouver's Indian food in last Sunday's New York Times reminded me that I wish Vij's was located in New York. The closest thing to Vij's in New York is the Bread Bar at Tabla. So if you're not going to Vancouver any time soon, hit the Bread Bar....